Q1. Tell me a bit about yourself – where are you from/where did you grow up and why did you want to become a coach?
LW I’m originally from Port Elizabeth, studied there and did all sorts except anything sports-related. I didn’t know a career can be made of sport especially not really being exposed to it. I have always loved playing sports and played with boys and girls in the street usually. Only at high school I participated in structured sport and played soccer when I was in grade 11.
I moved to Johannesburg and only years after playing soccer in JHB, have I taken up a more leadership role. I started a 5-a-side soccer social team and started coaching informally. After hearing about the PS course, only then I started to take coaching a bit more seriously. I studied a course in Personal Training, and with completing that course and the PS course, I decided to quit corporate for sport and follow my passion. Better late than never, the saying goes.
Q2. What made you want to be part of the Premier Skills Program?
LW I heard about a coaching workshop through a friend, and she gave me the forms to complete. I took leave from work to attend, and absolutely enjoyed every bit of it. It was touch and go whether I would have been part of the program, as there were far more participants than they expected. During that first phase I decided that this is what I want to do, and hopefully, through the selection process, I can see the program through its entirety.
Q3. How has the premier skills program changed your life?
LW Through the program I’ve seen my own growth; becoming more confident, from being an introvert and very shy, I now also conduct workshops and speak in front of people I don’t know. I have had the opportunity to travel outside South Africa more now than when I’ve worked and made a network of coaching friends and friendships.
Q4. What do you think the biggest challenges are for someone from your neighbourhood to becoming a successful coach?
LW Speaking from my own experience, I didn’t know how to go about going on coaching courses, where to go, what to do, where to apply. In fact, I didn’t even know that a person could do different categories of licenses to become a coach. Community coaches don’t have resources to attend courses, and a lot of the time, don’t even know about courses. They can’t attend courses because they don’t have transport or money for transport, or can’t go because the course is a full week, during the day and would rather opt to go to work
Main challenges – money, availability, distance, and just not knowing about course because associations and organizations don’t let them know. Coaches have trouble arranging venues to have the sessions in. We as coach educators get assistance from the British Council to get copies of the workbooks done coaches but it’s not always possible to get material to coaches after the workshops.
Q5. How do you measure success?
LW Success is measured all times, even in small increments. Has a goal been achieved? It can be for the day, for the session, for the season, personal goals and objectives that are reached.
Q6. Do you feel like a source of positivity in your community?
LW Yes I do. When people are interested in what I do and ask questions, I feel that my story is something worth telling.
Q7. What shortcomings, if any, are there to the premier skills program?
LW More programs of the sort, more often. Regular follow up with organizations, more involvement of organizations.
Q8. What would you change about the program to improve it?
LW Get more organizations involved and relate their work with the program. E.g. GBV and what coaches and players can do, how to deal with situations, etc.
Q9. What has been the most valuable skill set you’ve acquired during the program?
LW Is confidence a skill? Well, it wasn’t taught to me, but through the program and the workshops that I’ve been involved with, I have grown in leaps and bounds with personal skills, being able to arrange and organize local workshops with coaches, being confident to speak to people, even getting interviewed and not evidently showing my nervousness.
Q10. What is your favourite story, inspirational or funny, to come about during or since you completed the program?
LW Day 1 of the course. When I got to the venue and there were so many coaches, I felt very intimidated and wasn’t sure what to expect. When my name wasn’t on the registration list, I was so worried, nervous and disappointed, and thought that I would be turned away. However, everyone was allowed to join in through some negotiations. It was such a relieve! So from almost not being part of the program, I ended up going through the whole program and received level 1 coach educator status, and now am able to conduct my own workshops.
Q11. What is the biggest difference in your life since before you enrolled in the program and now?
LW Managing my own schedule, knowing not every day is going to be the same. I am in control of my life, managing things a bit better.
Q12. Do you have any advice for future coaches?
LW Don’t be afraid to ask questions, go places and get involved. Take a bit of initiative and sometimes get involved in organizations that you might not know (be willing to learn other skills sets).
Q13. Do you have any ideas for programmes that you would like to run in your own community now that you have been part of the Premier Skills program?
LW Different coaches have different abilities that need to be identified. It would be great if coaches can be placed within organizations or groups to learn more about the work they do.
Regular follow up or refresher workshops/programs.